Update: Tony Perkins addresses the issue at One News Now. Also at the Christian Post.
Todd Starnes at FoxNews reports on the decision by a local National Guard armory not to be recognized at a local Vacation Bible School — because, they said, it would violate the military policies on religion. (The Washington Times and others subsequently picked up the story.)
Bible Baptist Church in Carthage…decided to honor the military during their annual Vacation Bible School. The theme was “God’s Rescue Squad.” And each day of the week, the church invited local “rescue squads” to visit with the boys and girls.
The paramedics came on Monday and on Read more
The US Army War College published a monograph on the core topic of the US military’s “evolving culture of hostility toward religious presence and expression.” The authors were Don Snider, a Senior Fellow in the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic (CAPE) at West Point and an Adjunct Research Professor in the Strategic Studies Institute at the U.S. Army War College, and retired US Army Col Alex Shine of the War College.
The paper, entitled “A Soldier’s Morality, Religion, and Our Professional Ethic: Does the Army’s Culture Facilitate Integration, Character Development, and Trust in the Profession?“, is clearly meant to be academic, but at 30 pages makes for a fairly easy – and worthwhile – read.
The authors focus on the influence of changing social values on ethics within the US military, as demonstrated in the increasing secularism in American society that is essentially hostile to religion: Read more
Update: Former Marine pilot Tom Carpenter of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy — a liberal activist group — largely repeated the list below a few weeks later, though he did so without attribution.
Jason Torpy, the one-man band that is the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers, recently posted a point-by-point refutation of recent accusations of the US military being hostile to Christianity.
Much of his disagreement was nuance or the way in which something was phrased, which isn’t worth discussing here. The interesting ones, though, were the cases in which he agreed with the US military’s “anti-Christian” actions:
January 2010 — Department of Defense orders removal of tiny Bible references on military scopes and gunsights.
Torpy: True and appropriate.
This issue has been discussed before. While there is no religious requirement the references remain, the fact they were targeted because of their (obscure) religious reference — only after Michael Weinstein complained, notably — is troubling. That he would seek this Read more
Dr. Don Snider (Col, US Army, Retired), a Political Science instructor at the US Military Academy at West Point, responded to USAFA law instructor David Fitzkee’s (Maj, US Army, Retired) prior Parameters article on religious freedom with a commentary criticizing the analysis of command involvement. Regarding the memorandum on religious neutrality issued last year, Snider said
It seems fair to say that the Chief of Staff of the US Air Force does not trust some of his Commanders to correctly fulfill their responsibilities to “support individual Airman’s needs and provide opportunities for the free exercise of religion.” So, he has withdrawn autonomy from all of his Commanders to do so, turning it over to their Chaplains.
Snider accurately notes that this singles out issues of religion for separation from command guidance: Read more
The Journal of Faith and War reprints a well-written commentary on the repeal of the policy most commonly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the US military. Written by retired Cols Al Shine* and Don Snider, “The Right to be Wrong” forwards a simple premise: If homosexuality is to be permitted in the military, the military must have a decidedly — and explicitly — neutral stance between both opposing ideologies: Read more
Dr. Don Snider, Col (USA, Ret) was previously quoted here with respect to his article on faith and war. Last year, before the repeal of the policy known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell” became such a talking point, he made a presentation on that very subject at the US Army War College, entitled “Reacting to the Coming Changes in “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.””
The article has some interesting perspectives, and its conclusion is telling:
It is quite insufficient for the Christian officer to react to this change in professional ethics with what I have heard on occasion, “We will just have to suck it up.” That is not leadership, rather a very poor form of followership. With study and reflection on your own part and much discussion within the fellowship, this is an evolution that you can deal with forthrightly, either in or out of active military service.
But you will have to be clear as to who you are, what you really believe, and whether you can be authentic as a Christian officer in your approach to the personal and professional tensions this change will produce. Needless to say, an inauthentic or incongruous reaction will be self-defeating to your leadership, and perhaps even toxic to your organization’s effectiveness. Time is short. I trust this outline will help you to start the necessary study and reflection.
Read Snider’s full article.
The “Journal of Faith and War” is a relatively new resource of the Association for Christian Conferences, Teaching and Service (ACCTS) (see links). The site
aims to influence for good the faith basis of morally responsible leadership in regard to preparing for war, going to war, fighting wars, concluding wars, evaluating wars, and maintaining discipline and accountability among parties involved in planning, projecting or applying military force. It will examine national defense decisions, policies, and strategies as well as the leadership of military and security forces.
Col Don Snider’s article on the authentic Christian witness in the military is at that site, as are a variety of articles on Biblical service, “calling” and the military, and others. As the site collects content, it may prove to be a valuable resource for mature Christian and professional military insight.
See links to this and other valuable sites at the Links page.
Col (Dr) Don Snider (USA, Ret) has a well thought-out article on the Christian military witness at Journal of Faith and War. He notes the complexity of the issue with a single opening phrase:
There are no formulas, Christ only said: “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, and unto God what is God’s.”
His points fall under the following categories:
Mastering the Context
“…you are not to compartment your life and its varied roles (supposing that you actually could do so psychologically which is, of course, quite debatable). You may not choose to be a Soldier leader in some settings and a Christian in others.”
“You are, in addition, free to witness appropriately to your faith, Read more